Thursday, March 10, 2011

Canada's Punditocracy Call's It Like It Is

I have to admit it. Actually, there was some good analysis of the significance of harper's attempt to refuse the Colvin emails and other documents to Parliament. In that act of contempt towards Parliament harper was revealing more authoritarian traits than anything the concern trolls have been able to tar Venezuela's Hugo Chavez with. The problem though, is that after that it was back to business as usual. It's like finding out that cousin Leroy tried to kill Aunt Laverne, stopping him in the act, and then inviting him over to the house again next year for the Thanksgiving weekend as if nothing had ever happened.

But with the recent Bev Oda lying to Parliament scandal and the Federal Court decision on the "In-and-Out" scandal, some columnists are connecting the dots.

First, there's Carol Goar's "Harper is cutting off 'lifeblood of democracy'";

The list goes on. Harper has stymied parliamentary committees, removed outspoken government watchdogs and obstructed Access to Information requests. He has prorogued Parliament twice.

Six years ago, as opposition leader, he wrote these words in an essay published by the Montreal Gazette: “Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.”

It would be hard to put it better than that.

Then there's Lawrence Martin's "On the road to the harper government's tipping point":
The recent math is eye-popping. But getting the full picture requires going a little further back. We recall the PM on the Afghan detainees’ file denying Parliament its right to see documents. The Speaker overruled him, pointedly suggesting that he might show more respect for democratic traditions. Before this, Mr. Harper had shut down Parliament, an act that brought thousands of Canadians to the streets to protest against what he was doing to their democracy.
...
During the Chr├ętien government years, I reported extensively on malfeasance by the Liberals. To do the math on the Harper government is to conclude that, while it has no sponsorship scandal on its books, it’s already surpassed its predecessor on a range of other abuse-of-power indices.
Finally, Chantal Hebert spells out the implications of the [now successful] vote about whether the "In-and-Out" scandal is a case of electoral fraud and “assault on the democratic principles upon which Parliament and the electoral system are based . . . .” in a column entitled: "Liberals set the stage to bring down the government."

But if the opposition parties really do subscribe to the stark sentiments expressed in this week’s Liberal motion, it will be hard for any of them to justify continuing to do business with the government at the time of the budget.

In a minority Parliament, the opposition can blame the government for many things but not for its own self-inflicted impotence.

Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe could hardly take the Conservatives to task for alleged abuses of the democratic process in an election campaign 12 to 18 months from now without being asked why they turned out to be ready to overlook them this spring.

Indeed. The sum of all these arguments is that harper is a despot in embryo. He inhabits a democratic system but he despises it and wants to mutate it into something less. These basically elite commentators are pretty happy with the system as is. They might be "pragmatic" left-Liberals at most, who believe that "something" should be done for the poor, but not so as to get in the way of Canadian business-as-usual, but they recognize that harper is NOT business-as-usual. He's dangerous and he needs to be called for what he is.

Unlike the degenerate mainstream newsmedia in the USA, I think a majority of Canadian opinion writers appear to realize that dangerous precedents are being set and that enabling abuses of state power is exceedingly foolish. Take for instance the way the NYT and others are agreeing with the Obama regime's attack on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Assange is going to be arrested and imprisoned for receiving and publishing information from leaked government documents. This is something that journalists are supposed to be doing every day. These idiots probably think since they're already so craven and so much a part of the system, that they will never be on the receiving end of the same state actions. That sort of foolish, blind trust is a sure road to personal destruction.

Anybody who has so many secrets and lies to cover for that they need to attack the basic principles of journalism is certain to have more and once they get the precedent of jailing reporters and whistle-blowers with newly-invented crimes, they'll attempt to expand those powers.

Right now it appears that most of our leading opinion makers realize the dangers and while all they can do is sound the alarm in a newspaper column, they're doing it, it's highly important, and their publishers are allowing them to do so.

5 comments:

trevorus said...

i love the cartoon attached to the star-per shitkicker article.

thwap said...

Is that on one of my links? (I don't see any cartoons.)

trevorus said...

http://www.thestar.com/searchresults?AssetType=image&stype=genSearch&r=FullCategory:%22/Opinion/EditorialCartoon%22

march 10th cartoon. i guess it was up on the star page when i read the article at the time.

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

But we shouldn't threat cousin Leroy too harsh. If it was like that, France and Germany should be at war permanently. Call Canada.